Turning over a new leaf: a round-up of the best new environmental-science books

With the much-anticipated COP26 having kicked off in Glasgow yesterday, we can expect to see a lot of news about the climate plans that world leaders are discussing. But to make sense of the coverage, it’s useful to have some background knowledge of the problems and potential solutions that are likely to come up.

Physics World has recently reviewed five new books that can help you get up to speed on these timely topics. Two of them – Small Gases, Big Effect by David Nelles and Christian Serrer, and 99 Maps to Save the Planet by KATAPULT – take a candid and scientific look at the situation, using infographics to present the physical mechanisms underpinning climate change, the effects we are already observing and the future we might be headed towards if we don’t take action.

The other three – Under a White Sky by Elizabeth Kolbert, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates and Brave Green World by Chris Forman and Claire Asher – look at the full spectrum of solutions and mitigation strategies that have been suggested. They cover the well-known and already in use (nuclear and solar power) to the outlandish-seeming (spraying the sky with particles to reflect sunlight) and everything in between.

So whether you want to bolster your understanding of the science behind climate change, catch up on all the potential solutions, or spur yourself into action with some sobering information, there’s a book here for you.

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